Healthy Churches, Faithful Pastors: Covenant Expectations for Thriving Together

by David Keck. Rowman & Littlefield, 2014.

It is not easy being a pastor. Important work is rarely easy. On the other hand, it isn’t always easy being a member of a congregation either. Being part of a faith community has its ups and downs. Despite the challenges, both clergy and laity care deeply about the congregation of which they are a part. Most dissatisfaction comes from caring, not indifference. This book by Rev. David Keck is designed to help clergy and laity manage mutual expectations of one another. Rev. Keck is the pastor of College Presbyterian Church and College Chaplain at Hampden-Sydney College. He holds degrees from Harvard University and Duke Divinity School. His intellectual ability and practical experience is evident in this book. The wisdom he shares will help personnel committees have positive conversations about leadership roles. What is presented in this book isn’t just information, it is about lifting up the mission of the congregation by getting clear about roles and functions. Rev. Keck’s theological worldview is, broadly speaking, from the reformed perspective. So, his views on clergy roles are shaped by the Presbyterian (USA) tradition. Having noted that, the book can be helpful to many congregations that are willing to read it with their own religious claims and commitments in mind. Appendix 1 includes information about conducting an annual mutual ministry review. As Keck writes, “In such a review, the important questions of ‘What should the pastor be doing?’ and ‘How is the pastor doing?’ are set in the context of the broader questions of ‘What should church members be doing?’ and ‘How are we all doing together in mutual ministry?’”.